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€ 1.6 trillion oil and gas profits ‘lost to Ireland’

Keith Bourke, Western People

A report by the Shell to Sea campaign group has claimed that taxpayers stand to lose out on 1.6 trillion in oil and gas profits. “Several international studies have found that the share of revenue Ireland receives is among the lowest in the world, less than half of that of comparable countries,” said the report, Liquid Assets, which has been compiled by Dublin Shell to Sea.

The report calculates that there could be the equivalent of 21 billion barrels of oil under Irish waters. It cites a 2003 study for Shell, which projected that he total State take from the Corrib Gas project would be just € 340 million or 7per cent of the project’s revenue.

It states that the Corrib Gas Field contains 1,000 billion cubic feet of gas. The report also documents the resistance of communities in North Mayo to the Corrib Gas project. A deal struck in1992 by Fianna Fail’s disgraced former minister Ray Burke allowed resource companies to pay only 25 percent tax on profits from the sale of oil or gas. In 2007, then energy minister, Eamon Ryan amended 1992 legislation. He introduced a profit resource tax that added a levy of between five and 15 per cent on the company profits. “The 2007 terms only apply to fields licensed after January1, 2007. Even if a field goes into production in 2020, for example, the 1992 terms still apply if the original exploration licence for the field was granted before 2007,” the report states.

The report was launched by Socialist Party and United Left Alliance MEP Paul Murphy. “This devastating report exposes the State’s utter failure to manage Ireland’s natural resources on behalf of the people in Ireland. Not only ownership but also control of Irelands gas and oil is being handed over to private corporations” “People are increasingly aware that Ireland’s ‘take’ from gas and oil is far lower than in other countries.. The Government and oil industry have defended this by insisting that ‘attractive’ terms will lead to investment, jobs and our own supply of oil. “ What this excellent new publication reveals is that, thanks to the bizarre licensing terms passed down by Ray Burke, extraction of our valuable resources will not necessarily bring any benefits to Ireland. Companies can export directly from the field, providing no job or economic spin offs and no supply to the Irish market.” Mr Murphy added.

Posted Date: 
25 September 2012